Socialist Worker

LETTERS: The stench of hypocrisy runs through this society

Issue No. 2518

A woman at the beach in a burkini

A woman at the beach in a "burkini" (Pic: Flickr/Giorgio Montersino)


At least three French towns have banned the wearing of “burkinis”. This has supposedly been done in the name of “emancipating women” and “combatting terrorism”.

Forcing women to wear less clothing on a beach is as sexist and oppressive as forcing women to wear more clothes. We should defend women’s right to wear whatever clothing they like.

The level of racist hypocrisy is staggering. This ban is the latest measure by French authorities, to witch-hunt and criminalise France’s Muslim population.

Some schools have removed non-pork meal options for children. Public sector employees are banned from wearing the hijab. The wearing of a veil is completely banned in public.

The terrible attacks in Paris and Nice had absolutely nothing to do with what Muslim women wear.

The left must stand in solidarity with the oppressed, which includes challenging sexism and Islamophobia.

Julie Webster, Nottingham

I completely oppose the politics of Anjem Choudary who has been convicted of urging support for Isis. But I’m also outraged at the way this case has been treated.

Choudary has been called “the devil” by the Sun newspaper and now faces many years in jail—not for actions but for words he spoke.

There will be no jail for those who, on a daily basis, condemn Muslims as terrorists.

When Charlie Hebdo journalists were murdered in Paris we heard a great deal about the sacred right of free speech. This has disappeared.

Choudary may have encouraged people to go to Syria to fight for Isis. That’s a tragedy.

But the government’s racism and policies such as the Prevent agenda have alienated and radicalised far more people than Choudary did.

And the greatest recruiting tool for Isis was Tony Blair with his “War on Terror”. Even after the Chilcot report revealed some of his crimes, he is very unlikely to face justice.

Ann Jones, Birmingham


Pressure at work today

I work for an insurance company in Norwich.

On the surface it appears quite a good well paid job, but there is no union and every moment of the working day is timed to the second by a PC desktop app called Opus.

Productivity is measured to a fraction of a percent.

Not only do we have to be productive, and are watched by the line managers intensely, but the quality of our work (running insurance policies) must be perfect.

A whole layer of workers are employed to check other workers’ output and to find infractions of the rules for letter writing.

Instead of hiring new people when there is too much work, the management are forcing the back office staff to go on the phones.

Most of the more experienced workers refused, but those on probation felt they had to say yes.

The result is very inexperienced staff are being thrown in at the deep end with no planning and little training. It is very stressful.

This is a textbook example of how the management of big companies are trying to deal with the recession.

Name and address supplied


How can football fans stand with Palestine?

I was pleased that Celtic football fans unfurled Palestinian flags at last week’s game against the Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Shiva.

Supporting Palestine meant defying the Uefa football authority’s ban on political acts inside grounds.

The club may now be fined.

This has led some Celtic fans to say we should “obey the rules”—even if they are stupid rules. But that means accepting silence in the face of a symbol of injustice.

However, I also would argue that it would have been even more effective if there had been a boycott of the match.

When the South African rugby team came to Britain in the 1970s this was the tactic adopted—along with pitch invasions—and it was hugely effective.

Alan Cameron, Glasgow


Defend our public space

Our council is proposing to sell off a square in the centre of Swansea in South Wales and allow the new owner to build shops or cafes on a part of it.

Although the council says it would secure public access at all times, it’s not clear how that would work.

We’ve had some brilliant protests and gatherings in the square. We’ve shown our support for refugees, protested against the bombing of Syria, and seen off a “White Pride” event organised by fascists.

At the moment anyone can just turn up and hold a gathering. But there’s plenty of evidence from other cities that private ownership tends to erode public access.

The square is part of our common heritage in Swansea. If the council “disposes” of Castle Square it will pass out of public ownership for the foreseeable future and we won’t get the land back.

Shockingly there has been no public discussion about this proposal, just a notice in the local paper.

But we’re getting a campaign together and telling the council that Castle Square is not for sale!

Alice Greenlees, Swansea


Tories gave in to food firms

I am angry that the government dropped plans to curb junk food adverts and will instead “challenge” manufacturers to cut the sugar in products. But I’m not shocked. Profit always comes before our health.

Tamar Reynolds, East London


Hottest July is a warning

Nasa has said that July was the hottest month the world has experienced since records began.

It’s absolutely vital that there is an immediate programme of renewable energy production and an end to fossil fuel extraction and burning.

This is possible and affordable.

The £30 billion of subsidies that the government is considering for Hinkley C nuclear plant should instead be the basis for a genuinely sustainable energy policy.

Sandra Murray, Southampton


The IMF funds Egypt’s tyrant

The dictatorship of General el-Sisi in Egypt has secured a £8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. What a disgrace that they are funding this butcher.

The loan’s conditions include cuts in subsidies that will hit the poor.

The only beneficiaries will be the military caste and its allies.

Jim Palmer, West London


Who will see film on Blair?

Dave Ramsden says in his review of George Galloway’s film about Tony Blair (Socialist Worker, 10 August) that “it’s not clear whether the film will go on general release”.

I cannot see this film going on even a limited general release. It surely it falls into the same category as the Ken Loach films about the trade union leaders. These were kept out of the public domain for obvious reasons in the early 1980s.

Ramon Harris, by e-mail


Strange world of elite sport

I enjoyed watching much of the Olympics. But we have produced an elite of super-athletes.

Over a quarter of the British population is officially inactive because they do less than 30 minutes of activity a week, including walking.

Janice Hemmingway, North London


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